With these funds we were able to restore, protect, and enhance 24,611 acres of native and restored grassland in Minnesota. Much of this work was done through the DNR Roving Crews, a new program funded with these dollars that has significantly increased the state's habitat management capabilities. In addition to these enhancement activities we were able to enroll acres in the DNR's Native Prairie Bank Easement Program as well as acquire acres for the SNA program.
Accomplishments of the appropriation include: i) protection of 3.9 miles of shoreline; ii) modification of 4 lake outlet structures to allow fish passage, benefiting 1,264 acres; iii) enhanced river and stream functions at 15 sites, benefiting over 17 river miles; and iv) enhance 4.5 miles of shoreline habitat on publicly-owned lakeshore.
This program will increase populations of a variety of game and non-game wildlife species by protecting and enhancing forest habitats on which wildlife depends. This program of on-the-ground forest conservation projects will amplify the wildlife value of forest communities on DNR administered forestlands. Our forest enhancement will treat 4,472 ac. These activities are not conducted as part of the DNR's commercial timber operations. Additionally, our program will acquire 404 acres of forestland that contributes to habitat complexes and other high priorities.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Accelerated Prairie Grassland Restoration and Management Program had a successful first round of funding from the Legacy Funds. The program worked through the growing pains and obstacles in getting a new program up and operational and was successful in enhancing nearly 5,800 acres of prairie and grasslands in eight of the ecological subsections of Minnesota. A contractor base has been established for this type of work statewide that needs to be evaluated and expanded on for future appropriations.
The Crow-Hassan Prairie Complex Restoration and Enhancement restored 246 acres of prairie, 28 acres of forest and enhanced 500 acres of prairie within a larger prairie complex totalling 1200 acres. This is the largest prairie complex in the metro area. It will provide excellent breeding and nesting habitat for waterfowl, grassland birds, and other wildlife.
This programmatic request will build on the DNR’s previous efforts to enhance and restore grasslands, prairies, and savannas. We will use the Prairie Conservation Plan and Pheasant Summit Action Plan to guide these efforts in a strategic and targeted manner. This proposal will work on a number of types of permanently protected habitats, most of which are open to public hunting, including; DNR WMAs, SNAs, AMAs, Prairie Bank Easements, State Forests, as well as USFWS WPAs and Refuges.
We will use a programmatic approach to achieve prioritized aquatic habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement of lakes, trout streams, and rivers across all of the LSOHC planning regions of Minnesota.
This project improved the water quality of Lake Rebecca in Lake Rebecca Park Reserve, and improved the fish habitat in the premier muskellunge brood stock lake in Minnesota. Water quality improvements were achieved through a combination of implementing manure management activities in the watershed to reduce phosphorus inflow to Lake Rebecca, control of the invasive species curly-leaf pondweed, and application of alum (aluminum sulfate) to reduce internal phosphorus loading.
Metro Big Rivers Phase 8 will protect 100 acres in fee title and 130 acres in permanent conservation easement, and enhance 700 acres of priority habitat in the big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area. MBR partners will leverage the OHF appropriation by at least 40% with partner funds, private funds, local government contributions and Clean Water Funds, as well as landowner donations of easement value. Significant volunteer engagement will be invested in many habitat enhancement activities, although not technically counted as leverage.
Using the best science and biological data available, this project will protect sites that the DNR and has identified as high priority habitat acquisitions that are vital to support specific wildlife targets in the Metro Section Planning region. The Conservation Fund (TCF) will proactively contact and negotiate land protection with willing landowners in these complexes in coordination with DNR and local conservation groups and local communities to maximize wildlife populations of statewide and local importance.
Metro Big Rivers Phase 3 protected 67 acres of significant habitat along more than 1 mile of the Mississippi River, restored 8 acres of prairie and enhanced 495 acres of priority habitat (47 wetland acres, 50 prairie acres and 398 forest acres) in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area.
Metro Big Rivers Phase 5 will protect in fee title 215 acres, protect in conservation easement 175 acres, and enhance 229 acres of priority habitat within the big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area.
Metro Big Rivers Phase 7 will protect 280 acres (180 acres fee title and 100 acres conservation easement), restore 164 acres and enhance 613 acres of priority habitat in the big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area.
Metro Big Rivers Phase 6 will protect 245 acres (145 acres fee title and 100 acres conservation easement), restore 81 acres and enhance 489 acres of priority habitat in the big rivers corridors in the Metropolitan Urbanizing Area.
Over the next ten years, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) and its Partners will engage in one of the Metro’s largest habitat restoration and water quality enhancement projects, restoring 2,488 acres of in-lake habitat across 14 connected deep and shallow lakes and creating contiguous corridors of restored wetland and uplands in the Six Mile-Halsted Bay Subwatershed (SMCHB), one of the largest tributaries to Lake Minnetonka.
Funds of $600,000 will enhance 150 acres of Wirth Park habitat. This project benefits animal species including the pileated woodpecker and the threatened Blanding’s turtle. Primary outcomes include better quality plant communities, reduced fragmentation, and improved shoreline.